Regional bus companies hire armed guards for night travels

With trade booming between Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, several bus companies operating along the Bujumbura-Kigali-Kampala route have resorted to travelling at night to cash in on the ever increasing numbers of travellers.
IN DANGER: Interstate Bus services have been targeted in the recent wave of highway armed robberies in Uganda.  (File photo)
IN DANGER: Interstate Bus services have been targeted in the recent wave of highway armed robberies in Uganda. (File photo)

With trade booming between Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, several bus companies operating along the Bujumbura-Kigali-Kampala route have resorted to travelling at night to cash in on the ever increasing numbers of travellers.

However, these buses which travel in the wee hours of the morning are vulnerable to highway robberies which have been reported in western Uganda.

Currently, close to 10 bus companies’ commute to Kigali from Kampala, with only two having armed security operatives on board.

In an interview with The New Times, a manager of one of the companies said that insecurity along this route prompted them to hire policemen to ensure the safety of the passengers and their merchandise.

“It’s not safe to travel at night with no armed police officers on board most especially since these buses carry business people who are targeted by robbers,”
“Most robbers are assisted by some people who pose as passengers and we decided to hire armed officers to ensure the security of our customers.”

Robbers on Wednesday morning ambushed a Rwanda bound bus belonging to Bismarkan Coaches Company in Ntungamo-Uganda, along Mbarara-Kabale. 

The bus was ambushed by suspected robbers who blockaded the road with big stones causing an accident that led to the deaths of five people while 20 others are in critical condition.

Efforts to reach the managers of some of the other bus companies were futile as some were out of the country while others refused to talk to the press.

Of the 10 bus companies on the Kampala-Kigali- Bujumbura route, government owned ONATRACOM is the only one that does not travel at night.

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